Vita Sackville-West, a prolific poet, novelist, and memoirist, considered herself foremost a writer, but her enduring reputation rests on the imprint of her provocative personality on the life and writing of Virginia Woolf, and on her stirring contributions to the art of gardening, both in practice and in writing.

Cornell English professor Molly Hite guides us over the peaks of their powerful relationship and the works it inspired in Woolf: the renowned materialist-feminist essay, "A Room of One's Own"; the faux-biography and parody of literary history, "Orlando"; and Woolf's most experimental and perhaps greatest novel, "The Waves," in which a detailed representation of a romantically wild garden expands into a whole world.

Hite delivered the William H. and Jane Torrence Harder Lecture on August 24, 2011 as part of the Cornell Plantations fall lecture series.

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